Back in those days, as the evangelist Matthew conveys to us, Jesus addressed everyone and said: »>Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Indeed, my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Mt 11:28-30). As in those days, so today Jesus addresses all of you, dear young people, and through the motto of this year's Festival, inspired by the Gospel mentioned a moment ago, He is sending His invitation to you: "Learn from me and you will find peace".
The Lord does not address these words only to the apostles or some of his friends, but to all who are tired and burdened. He knows how difficult life can be and that there are many things that weigh on our hearts: numerous disappointments, wounds from the past, burdens we carry, injustices we endure, and numerous uncertainties and worries. In contrast to all this, there is Jesus who gives us his invitation: "Come to me and learn from me". This invitation requires walking and trust, and does not allow us to stand still, stiff and scared before life's challenges. It sounds easy, but in dark moments we simply close in on ourselves. It is precisely from this solitude that Jesus wants to take us out, which is why he tells us: "Come".
The way out is in the relationship with the Lord, in seeing the One who truly loves us. However, it is not enough to just get out of oneself, you also need to know which direction to go, because there are so many misleading offers that promise a better future, but leave us alone again and again. For this reason, the Lord shows us where to go: "Come to me".
Dear friends, go to Him with open hearts, take His yoke and learn from Him. Go to the Master to become His disciples and inheritors of His peace. Take His yoke with which you will discover God's will and become partakers of the mystery of His cross and resurrection. The "yoke" that Christ speaks of is the law of love, it is the commandment He left to his disciples: love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12). Because the real remedy for man's wounds is a life based on fraternal love, which finds its source in the love of God.
By walking together with Him and imitating Him, you will learn from Him. He is the Lord who does not impose on others a burden that He does not carry Himself. He addresses the humble, the small, and the poor because He himself became poor and humble. If we really want to learn, it is necessary to humble ourselves and recognize our own ignorance and arrogance, all those moments when we think we can achieve everything by ourselves and with our own strength, and especially to have an open ear for the Master's words. In this way, we get to know His heart, His love, and His way of thinking, seeing, and acting. But being close to the Lord and following Him requires courage.
Beloved, do not be afraid, go to Him with everything you carry in your heart. He is the only Lord who offers true refreshment and true peace. Follow the example of Mary, His and our Mother, who will lead you to Him. Trust her, who is the Star of the Sea, a sign of hope on a turbulent sea that leads us to the harbour of peace. She, who knows her Son, will help you to imitate Him in your relationship with God the Father, in compassion for your neighbours, and in the awareness of what we are called to do: to be children of God. At this moment, in the heart of summer, the Lord invites you to go on vacation with Him, in the most special place there is, which is your own heart.
Dear young people, while you are resting in Jesus Christ these days, I entrust you all to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our heavenly Mother, so that by her intercession and example, you may take upon yourself the sweet and easy burden of following Christ. Let the gaze of God the Father who loves you accompany you, so that when you meet others, you can witness the peace that you will receive as a gift in return. I pray for that purpose and I bless you, and at the same time, I entrust myself to your prayers.
In Rome, at St. John Lateran,
on the Memorial Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, July 16, 2022.